The Digital Rights Foundation (DigitalRightsPK) is an organization that endeavors to promote safe online spaces for women in Pakistan. We have launched Hamara Internet (@hamarainternet), a campaign to address violence against women and to provide support to those facing eVAW and technology-related to abuse. We have partnered with Twitter to create a safer environment online for women in Pakistan and we are excited to bring @Safety resources to our followers.
Oftentimes when talking about mental health, people converse in a detached manner, unable to connect or recognize that mental health issues could impact them. In the past, conversations regarding mental health have been limited due to the lack of safe, accessible and inclusive spaces where individuals facing the same issues could engage with one another. This, however, is changing as virtual spaces online are facilitating dialogue across thousands of miles in an unprecedented manner. But this doesn’t mean all mental health problems are being solved. Rather, new challenges are emerging on the horizon – if you are a woman or a minority reading this, chances are you know exactly what this means.
During our workshops across Pakistan, we have come across testimonies which bring together stories of a life lived in the fear of persecution. We have heard the experiences of how countless women and girls have made the decision to quit the internet completely because they could no longer deal with harassers. And this emotional trauma is not unique to Pakistan. The methodology may vary region to region, or even site to site, but it nevertheless exists. So is the solution really to just quit the internet? In today’s world, is such a solution even possible?
We do not believe so. The internet in itself is neither good nor bad. Therefore, we should try to claim online spaces, and if they do not yet exist, then we should create online spaces which not only provide connectivity, but also inclusivity. This, coupled with the proper knowledge and implementation of digital security measures will help create safe and strong online platforms.
We believe that through Hamara Internet the struggle for gender rights can take on a new form, online. We conduct digital security seminars, awareness-raising workshops and campaigns across Pakistan to make Pakistan women realize their true potential online.